Eggplant, or aubergine as it is know in England and France, is a real super food. At only 19 calories a cup it contains numerous nutrients and 10 percent of your daily fiber needs. Vegetarians know that all that fiber makes it not only healthy but filling as well. With meat prices rising ever higher, it can also be a great option for meat eaters looking for ways to cut their food budget. Eggplant can be a bit tricky to buy because they can be overly bitter, but you can get the best flavor by following these simple strategies.

How to choose ripe eggplant

  • Look it over: When you select an eggplant, make sure that it has a nice purple color and that it is glossy rather than dull. There should be no brown spots or blemish marks that could signify rotting may have started.
  • Check the stem: The stem of your eggplant should be bright green. If it is withered and brown there’s a good chance that it’s not very fresh.
  • Test the skin: When you press your finger into a ripe eggplant it should be firm yet pliable. You will know it is just right if the flesh bounces back and a very light indentation is left. If the eggplant yields too much, it is overripe and will taste too bitter.
  • Weight: You should look for an eggplant that is heavier than you would expect it to be for its size. This will ensure that your selection is fresh and full of moisture.
  • Bigger is not better: At my grocery store, eggplant is priced per item, not by weight. Krazy Coupon Ladies are typically told to go for the largest one in the bunch under these circumstances, but eggplant is an exception to the rule. Even though you will be paying a higher price per pound, it is better to go for small or medium-sized eggplants rather than large ones, because they have a much better flavor. People often think their cooking is to blame when they end up with a bitter eggplant dish, but it could be their selection process. So when it comes to eggplants, remember that bigger is bitter, not better.

Storage tips

Eggplant should ideally be eaten the day you buy them since they perish easily and get more bitter with age. Storing them is tricky, because the refrigerator tends to be too cold for them, and room temperature tends to be too warm. They can start to turn if the temperature is too far out of their ideal comfort zone of 50 degrees. Your best bet is to put them in the coolest place you can find outside of the refrigerator.

This is a guest post by April from Grand Blanc, MI
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